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Sunday
May122013

Responsibility

Yet another home birth was deemed senseless. Joseph Thurgood-Gates was born in the hospital after a trying attempt to deliver him at home. The mom, Kate, had had two previous cesareans and the baby was also found to be breech about two weeks post-dates. The mother ignored not only the doctors who recommended she have a repeat cesarean, but even the midwife when she recommended (most likely) an NST at the hospital ten days post-dates. The coroner, Kim Parkinson, not only said they baby would have lived had he been taken care of in the hospital from the beginning of labor, but especially when the mother had a uterine rupture. She then commented, "To disregard the obstetrician's advice on the basis of a mantra founded in the uncertainty of statistical data obtained from the Internet is a dangerous course to follow."

When I commented, “The woman’s Internet “advisors” are just as guilty for this baby’s death,” a woman replied that no they aren’t, that we each make our own decisions.

So, who is responsible for the baby’s death? Is it the Internet for its anonymity and copious amounts of misinformation in the name of “telling the truth?” Is it the midwife who wrote in her notes that there are "’lots of political issues’ relating to home births?” Is it solely the mother’s because ultimately she made the decisions?

I bet those Internet advisors will find a way to incriminate anyone but themselves and the mother because mothers are rarely accused of doing anything wrong when it comes to home birth deaths. Even when it is their fault.

There are others culpable, though.

Entire websites are set up to convince women that medicine is evil, that doctors have nothing but dollars on their minds and that cesareans are the worst thing possible in a woman’s birth story. I could name five off the top of my head, but if I know them, then others do, too. There are a few that take the opposite stance, that home birth is evil and home birth midwives have nothing but popularity on their minds and that giving birth naturally is just for the experience. (I strive to be in the middle.) Neither is 100% correct, but desperate women cling to the fringes. Why is that? What are they looking for besides answers? Why do they look for the information they hope is true instead of balanced information? I’d need a psychology degree to answer those questions. It’s rather pitiful and sad, though, that they do… that there are women right now doing the exact same thing. And there are plenty of women out there validating their wishful thinking.

How many deaths and injuries need to occur before the Internet advisors start taking responsibility for their actions? Will they ever figure out the role they play in all of this? I would like to think so, but don’t hold out much hope for it. I don’t know how to get these women to own up to their behaviors, their advice to unsuspecting women who desperately want help over the wires.

Or how do we comfort the despairing woman? How do we help her so she doesn’t turn to the edge of sanity for information? Women can be so damaged; there has to be a way to help them before they go over the edge of sanity… the sanity of not taking medical advice from strangers.

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